In 1997, both LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood released recordings of "How Do I Live," a song written by Diane Warren for consideration for the film Con Air. Warren initially approached a then-14-year-old Rimes to record the song, which she did, but Touchstone Pictures ultimately asked Yearwood to record a version. Yearwood's performance was released to country radio and appeared in the movie, and Rimes' was released to pop radio on the same day.
In a new interview with Kelleigh Bannen on an Essential Album special on Apple Music Country, Rimes reflected on the dueling releases, sharing that she "was very aware" of the situation. "I was 14 and that was my first taste of the industry, I guess, in a way," she said. "It didn't feel good, that's for sure. I remember thinking that my version of the song would never be heard and I'm glad I was really wrong about that."
Rimes told Bannen that when Mike Curb, founder of Rimes' record label Curb Records, asked her whether she minded if he released her version to pop radio, she replied, "Absolutely not. I would love that.." "That was kind of my — once I talk about those boxes that people tried to fit me in — that was kind of my breaking out of that one box of, 'Oh, she's just this, she's the little girl who sings country music,'" she noted. "That was kind of the first… I was crossing over when people didn't cross over and got my hand slapped big time for that, but it was also one of the most, I mean, it's the most successful song by a woman ever still to this date."
Rimes' version of "How Do I Live" set a record for staying on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 69 weeks and set a record for the most time in the chart's Top 5, and was later recognized by Billboard as the No. 1 song of the 1990s. Reflecting on her early years in the music business, Rimes shared, "I really respect myself as a kid."
"It's beautiful," she continued. "I don't think I've had the respect that I have had for her, or have for her now until recently. Because I was just in survival mode for 25 years and now being out of survival mode and being able to reflect, and that's a recent thing… I'm kind of always looking to reconnect with what was it about her that was so clear and so powerful. I know that because of that respect and that connection, I now have that piece of myself that it's back online."